...and that means Indulging in some Good Ole Cajun Food
Mardi Gras is a popular phenomenon dating back thousands of years ago. Also known as Carnival, it is celebrated in many countries around the world on the day before Lent begins. Some of the holiday's most famous public festivities take place in Brazil, Venice and of course New Orleans! Each year these festivities draw thousands of tourists wanting to join in the celebration.
The History of Mardi Gras
Historians date Mardi Gras back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate the popular local traditions of Saturnalia and Luypercalia into the new faith rather than abolishing them. Mardi Gras, along with Christianity, spread from Rome to other European countries such as France, Germany, Spain and England.
Traditionally, people would binge on all the meat, eggs, milk and cheese in their house in preparation for several weeks of only eating fish and fasting during Lent. The day before Ash Wednesday became known as "Fat Tuesday" in France. And the word "carnival" was derived from the Latin word carnelevarium which means to take away or remove meat.
Mardi Gras in the United States
Eventually the festivities expanded to the U.S. and the first Mardi Gras celebration took place on March 3, 1699 when the French landed in what is now known as Louisianna. In the following decades, settlers marked the holiday with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners. These rowdy rituals were abolished when Spain took control of New Orleans and the bans remained until 1812 when Louisiana became a U.S. state.
In 1827, students put on colorful costumes and danced through the streets of New Orleans, emulating what they'd observed in Paris. Ten years later, the first recorded Mardi Gras parade took place in New Orleans. In 1857 a secret society of business men known as the Mistick Krewe of Comus organized a torch-lit Mardi Gras procession with marching bands and rolling floats, setting the tone for future celebrations. One of the oldest Mardi Gras krewes established purple, gold and green as the iconic Mardi Gras colors. Other lasting customs include throwing beads and other trinkets, wearing masks, decorating floats and eating King Cake. Louisiana is the only state in which Mardi Gras is a legal holiday, but elaborate carnival festivities draw crowds to other parts of the country throughout the Mardi Gras season.
Mardi Gras Around the World
Brazil holds a week-long carnival featuring vibrant European, African and native traditions. Quebec City in Canada hosts the giant Quebec Winter Carnival. Venice's Carnevale dates back to the 13th century and is famous for its masquerade balls. Children in Denmark dress up and gather candy similar to our Halloween. In Germany, the celebration is known as Karneval and includes parades, costume balls and a tradition that empowers women to cut off men's ties.
For more information on Mardi Gras, visit www.history.com.
We look forward to serving you some southern, Mardi Gras inspired Cajun food at the Lake of the Ozarks this coming season! Be sure to try some of our customer favorites such as the Cajun Jambalaya and the Cajun Seafood Pasta. We also have the BEST live music at Lake of the Ozarks Thursdays-Sundays! Join us starting in March for another great season at the Best Waterfront Bar Lake of the Ozarks has to offer!
Come on by Backwater Jack's Waterfront Bar & Grill!
An eclectic blend of food, drink & entertainment on the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks.
Restaurant Hours: 7 days a week open at 11am
Live Music at 6pm, 6 days a week (May – Sept)!
LIKE us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter